February 28, 2021

Cambodia’s Mekong River Believed to be a Healthiest Habitat of Endangered Giant Freshwater Stingray

AKP Phnom Penh, January 17, 2021 — Cambodia’s Mekong River from Stung Treng to Kratie and Prey Veng is believed to be the healthiest habitat of the endangered giant freshwater stingray.
The notice was shared recently with AKP by Dr. Zeb Hogan, an American biologist and a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) fellow who is leading a new National Geographic Society project.
The giant freshwater stingray’s populations are decreasing rapidly throughout the Mekong River, but the Cambodian Mekong River is a healthiest home for this species especially in the area around Kratie province and Kampi, he said.
He explained that the giant freshwater stingray can grow to 600 kilogrammes and reach 5 metres in length; and the spine, also called a barb, at the base of the stingray’s tail is very sharp and coated with a venomous film.
To conserve this species in Cambodia, Dr. Zeb Hogan suggested that it is helpful to limit harvest of the species and avoid eating stingray or purchasing them, and because it is not a common fish in the country, restricting harvest will not significantly impact livelihoods or food supply.
Freshwater fish reserves (areas with no fishing) can help protect endangered fish, especially large fish like the giant stingray, and the reserves, like the area around Kampi Pool which was established to protect freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins, can help protect stingray.
Monitoring and limiting industrial pollution into the river, and keeping the Mekong River connected and free flowing, will also contribute vitally to the conservation.
The stingray is listed in the sub-decree No. 123 (Aug, 12, 2009) on the identification of the endangered fishery products, and was assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as endangered animal.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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